March 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

Sports gear retailer evo reports strong returns on customer service feature

When customers have questions about the skiing, snowboarding and wakeboarding gear sold on evo’s evogear.com, their use of an online self-service knowledge base has helped to slash costs through the reduction of e-mails and phone calls, evo says.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

When customers have questions about the skiing, snowboarding and wakeboarding gear sold on evo’s evogear.com, their use of an online self-service knowledge base has helped to slash costs through the reduction of e-mail and phone call communications, evo says.

For the past four years, evo has offered customers the use of a knowledge base in the Fuze Suite customer care software from Fuze Digital Solutions. When shoppers on evogear.com want more information about the latest K2 brand skis, for example, they can search the retail site’s Fuze-powered Help Center. The Help Center, which is hosted by Fuze and provided on-demand, lets shoppers search by multiple categories, such as type of equipment, and sort the results, such as by the newness of the information or by how other shoppers rated the same information in earlier queries.

In 2008, evo realized about $270,000 in savings from the Fuze-powered Help Center, for a return on investment of more than 1500%, the fourth consecutive year of large ROI, the retailer says. To calculate that savings, evo made a “conservative” estimate of the cost to handle customer calls and e-mails at $2 each, and it figured the Help Center reduced the number of customer calls by 5% and the number of customer e-mails by 10%.

“Especially during these tight economic times, it’s vital that we control our operating costs without compromising the consistency and high quality of our customer care,” says evo president Shilo Jones. “Fuze enables us to achieve that throughout the year and especially during our seasonal peaks.”

Nathan Decker, evo’s head of e-commerce, says the Fuze application is also designed to simplify the entry of information into the knowledge repository by evo’s employees. “Anyone on our business team can log in to Fuze, author a piece of content and within seconds it is published live on our web site,” he says. “This application has benefited many departments and eliminated the need in many cases to route requests through I.T. For example, our customer care team can instantly publish a change in service levels or the marketing team can quickly communicate to customers about current offers.”

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